Category Archives: longevity

What’s in the Stroller?

Final Book CoverThis blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

CHITCHAT:  I will be giving free public lectures on the following dates, times, and locations:

October 16, 2018, 1:00pm, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” The Holmstad Retirement Community, 700 W. Fabyan Pkwy, Batavia, IL 60510, (630) 239-1133, www.theholmstad.org  (RSVP REQUIRED)

October 17, 2018, 10:30am, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” Windsor Park Retirement Community, 124 Windsor Park Dr, Carol Stream, IL 60188, (331) 218-3637, www.windsorparkillinois.org (RSVP REQUIRED)

October 19, 2018, 10:30am, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” Covenant Village of Northbrook, 2625 Techny Rd, Northbrook, IL 60062, (224) 412-8421, www.covenantnorthbrook.org (RSVP REQUIRED)

Now, on to my blog:

Toy Dog in StrollerI was sitting on a metro train a few weeks ago  next to a woman with a Chihuahua in her lap. She kept stroking it and talking to it.  The lady seemed a bit deranged. She had a knitted cap pulled over her hair, no teeth, and her clothing seemed mismatched.  Parked in front of her was a baby stroller with a second Chihuahua in it.  I’m sure both dogs occupied the stroller together when the woman was out and about on her daily routine.

Periodically, the dog owner attempted to make eye contact with people nearby as she chatted about her dogs.  Most just ignored her or averted their gaze. A mother with a young child held it close to her, protectively, lest the child catch anything the woman might transmit such as a compromised mental state.

Over about a ten minute period as I watched from my perch while trying not to be obvious about it, the owner pulled out a plush toy from the stroller, which she snuggled against the face of first one of the dogs and then the other. She also pulled out food, and broke off little pieces which she fed to the dogs, occasionally popping a morsel into her own mouth.

After observing her for quite a while, I said “you certainly take very good care of your dogs.” Starved for conversation, she immediately began discussing the dogs with me. We chatted for the rest of the ride, about five minutes, on the subject of how much joy  the dogs have brought to her life.

I looked at the dog on her lap and addressed it by the name she had called it: Mister.  Mister immediately jumped into my lap and hunkered down. His owner was delighted, and loved sharing one of her most precious possessions with me as I scratched Mister  behind his ears.

When I departed the train, I again complemented my seat companion on what a good and caring owner she was.  She beamed a beautiful, toothless smile at me.

Can we be willing to reach out to others who are not so cool, not so trendy, maybe a little socially offensive? Can we take that moment to connect with another fragile human being, toothless or not, smartly dressed or not? That encounter did as much for me as it did for her.

***

Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

Photo credit: DocChewbacca on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA

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Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, senior citizen, seniors, successful aging, wellness

The Entitled

Final Book CoverThis blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

CHITCHAT:  I will be giving free public lectures on the following dates, times, and locations:

October 16, 2018, 1:00pm, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” The Holmstad Retirement Community, 700 W. Fabyan Pkwy, Batavia, IL 60510, (630) 239-1133, www.theholmstad.org  (RSVP REQUIRED)

October 17, 2018, 10:30am, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” Windsor Park Retirement Community, 124 Windsor Park Dr, Carol Stream, IL 60188, (331) 218-3637, www.windsorparkillinois.org (RSVP REQUIRED)

October 19, 2018, 10:30am, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” Covenant Village of Northbrook, 2625 Techny Rd, Northbrook, IL 60062, (224) 412-8421, www.covenantnorthbrook.org (RSVP REQUIRED)

Now, on to my blog:

Grabbing breadSome people seem to think that they are more entitled to the goodies of life than others. They’re the ones who fight to be first in selecting everything.  Here are a few examples:  they rush to the best seats, cut in line, cherry-pick the choicest portion of the food, maneuver themselves into the most advantageous spots, grab the…well, you get the idea.

These are the same folks who think they can buy or manipulate their way in or out of anything.  They may use different ploys to advance their agenda.  “I’m rich, so I should have a more luxurious (fill in the blank)”; I’m well-known, so I deserve a better (fill in the blank)”; “I’m sickly, so I merit a more advantageous (fill in the blank)”, I’m elderly, so I require a more comfortable (fill in the blank),” and on and on.  Everyone can find a reason in their life why they should be more entitled than you, me, him, her, them, or whomever.

I was on a tour years ago in some exotic location, and we went out daily in a Land Rover to navigate the rough terrain.  One woman always got there early and sat in the front passenger seat.  She told us all that she had a bad knee, and the extra leg-room allowed her to stretch out her leg.  Coincidentally, that also happened to be the best seat in the house, offering the choicest view out of the panoramic front window as well as a prime location next to the driver/tour guide so every morsel of his spiel could be captured.  One day, we arrived to see a man from our group in that coveted seat.  The aforementioned woman was forced to sit in another spot.  “Would you mind changing seats with me so I can stretch out my sore knee,” she said to him sweetly.  I loved his response which was no response at all.  He didn’t say a word and also didn’t budge.  It was wonderful to see our entitled member confronted in such a silent manner, as we were all pretty sick of her uncanny need to always require the most desirable of everything on that trip.

It’s a little unclear how these self-perceived, entitled beings got that way.  Perhaps mommy and daddy enabled it as they were growing up.  It could be a result of their  feelings of deprivation.  Maybe it’s an adaptation to the natural competition among the seven billion plus of us on this planet.  Of course, we all use our talents, skills, and abilities to get our “piece of the pie.” But, the entitled of the world take it to another level altogether.

Are you among the always entitled, or do you know someone like that?  Folks of such an attitude, position, outlook are completely off-putting to everyone else.  We are all human beings, and we live in close proximity to each other, jostling around like nervous atoms trying to get comfortable and find our place. One person is not more special or important than anyone else, although he/she would like to be.

Let’s be grown up and fair about this.  Let everybody in your sphere have a chance for the best this or the finest that. When it’s always about you, you may find that you’re no longer in competition because you no longer have anyone who is willing to be involved with you in any way.  You will be left to enjoy your best this or finest that all by your best and finest lonesome self.

***

Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

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Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, senior citizen, seniors, successful aging, wellness

Come into the Modern World

Final Book CoverThis blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

CHITCHAT:  I will be giving free public lectures on the following dates, times, and locations:

October 16, 2018, 1:00pm, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” The Holmstad Retirement Community, 700 W. Fabyan Pkwy, Batavia, IL 60510, (630) 239-1133, www.theholmstad.org  (RSVP REQUIRED)

October 17, 2018, 10:30am, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” Windsor Park Retirement Community, 124 Windsor Park Dr, Carol Stream, IL 60188, (331) 218-3637, www.windsorparkillinois.org (RSVP REQUIRED)

October 19, 2018, 10:30am, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” Covenant Village of Northbrook, 2625 Techny Rd, Northbrook, IL 60062, (224) 412-8421, www.covenantnorthbrook.org (RSVP REQUIRED)

Now, on to my blog:

email screenIt’s easy to get left behind with the rapid-fire changes that have happened in our lifetime.  New ideas, new discoveries, new ways of living, new technology, and on and on. Each time something new happens, it presents us with a steep learning curve.

Now, in order to buy the latest car, some dealerships offer classes on how to operate the darn thing with all its technology components and gadgetry. Today’s television sets come with a remote control reminiscent of a cockpit dashboard.

More and more people are shying away from the pressure, and falling further and further behind. However, the alternative is worse as their world gets smaller and they become isolated.

When friends and groups I belong to plan events, email blasts are what notify the participants.  It’s sad when someone wants to be a part of the activity, but defensively admits that they don’t know how to use a computer.  No one volunteers to call them for each update and chance playing the irritating game of telephone tag.

I remember my resistance to learning to use the Internet because of the difficulty in understanding it.  I insisted that my life functioned just fine the way it was, and that if I didn’t already know something, I wasn’t interested. The turning point came well over a decade ago.  After trying to convince me unsuccessfully for a few years, one day my son said the magic words: “Mom, come into the modern world.”

Yes, I envied those who were able to use email to communicate instantaneously. Yes, I too wanted to access the knowledge of the ages with a few key strokes. And, most of all, I wanted to make my son proud of me.

I took the plunge and enrolled in a school. I signed up for one course in word processing and another course in the Internet. The latter was so difficult to grasp that I continued to attend it over and over for an entire year until I finally got it.

The truth is, the internet has opened my life in ways I never imagined. Writing this blog is one of them. The best of all, however, is that I can email with my son, and it blows his mind when I talk tech-talk with him.  Yes, he is proud of mom.

 ***

Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

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Life is a Labyrinth

Final Book CoverThis blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

CHITCHAT:  I will be giving free public lectures on the following dates, times, and locations:

September 9, 2018, 3:15pm, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement,” THRIVE Expo –  sponsored by The Gazette newspaper, Hotel at Kirkwood Center, 7725 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404 (No RSVP Required)

October 16, 2018, 1:00pm, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” The Holmstad Retirement Community, 700 W. Fabyan Pkwy, Batavia, IL 60510, (630) 239-1133, www.theholmstad.org  (RSVP REQUIRED)

October 17, 2018, 10:30am, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” Windsor Park Retirement Community, 124 Windsor Park Dr, Carol Stream, IL 60188, (331) 218-3637, www.windsorparkillinois.org (RSVP REQUIRED)

October 19, 2018, 10:30am, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” Covenant Village of Northbrook, 2625 Techny Rd, Northbrook, IL 60062, (224) 412-8421, www.covenantnorthbrook.org (RSVP REQUIRED)

Now, on to my blog:

LabyrinthSome months ago, I strolled a lovely community labyrinth.  Some anonymous person or persons had searched for the stones, gathered them, hauled them to the site, and laid them out in an intricate maze, all so I could enjoy it and discover its message.  Labyrinths date back more than 4000 years, and have been found all over the world.  Although many dead ends abound for the labyrinth voyager, there is only one pathway which leads to the center–the goal.

As I made my way around the contortions of this ancient puzzle, it set the stage for quiet, contemplation, solitude, and peace.  I felt relaxed, and had these thoughts:

Life is a labyrinth. We go around in circles seeking our goal, but often hit one barrier after the next. When we reach a dead end, we are forced to retrace our steps and try a new direction. We can visualize what we seek, even see it.  Sometimes it seems so close and yet we are so far. At other times, it seems so far yet we are actually so close.

We each travel on our own personal quest.  We are surrounded by the same environment as our neighbors, but we view it differently, experience it differently, interact with it differently, each in our own reality bubble.

Yes, we can take shortcuts.  We can step over the boundaries of the labyrinth and rush to the end. But, we’ve shortchanged ourselves. We’ve forgotten the importance of the process which is how we learn about life so we can appreciate and benefit from the eventual attainment of our objective. Otherwise, we have no understanding of what we have reached, and we may destroy it with our ignorance.

Don’t fight the labyrinth.  Embrace it.  Follow it.  Grab it.  Don’t rush things–focus, go with the flow as they say.  This is not a contest–no winners and losers.  Discover the pace that works for you; discover which path works for you.  It’s different for everyone.  The wealth is attained from the journey, not the completion.

***

Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

Photo credit: jack dorsey via Visualhunt.com /  CC BY

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Half-Assed vs. Whole-Assed

Final Book CoverThis blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

CHITCHAT:  I will be giving free public lectures on the following dates, times, and locations:

September 9, 2018, 3:15pm, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement,” THRIVE Expo –  sponsored by The Gazette newspaper, Hotel at Kirkwood Center, 7725 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404 (No RSVP Required)

October 16, 2018, 1:00pm, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” The Holmstad Retirement Community, 700 W. Fabyan Pkwy, Batavia, IL 60510, (630) 239-1133, www.theholmstad.org  (RSVP REQUIRED)

October 17, 2018, 10:30am, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” Windsor Park Retirement Community, 124 Windsor Park Dr, Carol Stream, IL 60188, (331) 218-3637, www.windsorparkillinois.org (RSVP REQUIRED)

October 19, 2018, 10:30am, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” Covenant Village of Northbrook, 2625 Techny Rd, Northbrook, IL 60062, (224) 412-8421, www.covenantnorthbrook.org (RSVP REQUIRED)

Now, on to my blog:

DonkeysSome people put a tremendous amount of effort into what they do: jobs, leisure time, parenting, helping others, etc. Other people do as little as possible on such activities. Why is that?

Let’s look at the workplace for example. When I was working at my career as a probation officer, it was obvious to all my co-workers who the people were who really did a good job and who were the ones  who did as little as they could to just get by. The latter group was not bad enough to be fired; they managed to produce to the level of being barely competent. I could never understand their motivation or lack thereof.

The way I see it, even if you don’t particularly like your job or work, you have to be there for a certain amount of hours each day.  It’s just too boring not to tackle your task with effort and enthusiasm. If you must do the time, do so in a way that brings reward to yourself.

Performing a half-assed job is fraught with negativity, yields feelings of inadequacy, and produces minimal reward.  Doing a whole-assed job gives you a sense of accomplishment, approval from peers and superiors, pride in yourself, etc.  This dichotomy can be extrapolated to all areas of your life: your home, your relationships, your leisure time, etc.  

Even the great Albert Einstein worked a day job for seven years in a patent office before leaving to take over the chair in theoretical physics at the University of Zurich. Purportedly he was well-liked, and even received a promotion at that earlier, survival job which he referred to as his “cobbler’s trade.” 

If you must be a waiter while trying to bag that great acting role, why not be the best waiter you can be? Those seconds, minutes, hours, and so forth spent at the job are the same amounts of time deducted from your lifespan. So why not make them as rewarding to yourself as possible?

***

Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

Photo credit: MarilynJane via VisualHunt /  CC BY

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Clowny

Final Book CoverThis blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

CHITCHAT:  I will be giving free public lectures on the following dates, times, and locations:

September 9, 2018, 3:15pm, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement,” THRIVE Expo –  sponsored by The Gazette newspaper, Hotel at Kirkwood Center, 7725 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404 (No RSVP Required)

October 16, 2018, 1:00pm, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” The Holmstad Retirement Community, 700 W. Fabyan Pkwy, Batavia, IL 60510, (630) 239-1133, www.theholmstad.org  (RSVP REQUIRED)

October 17, 2018, 10:30am, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” Windsor Park Retirement Community, 124 Windsor Park Dr, Carol Stream, IL 60188, (331) 218-3637, www.windsorparkillinois.org (RSVP REQUIRED)

October 19, 2018, 10:30am, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” Covenant Village of Northbrook, 2625 Techny Rd, Northbrook, IL 60062, (224) 412-8421, www.covenantnorthbrook.org (RSVP REQUIRED)

Now, on to my blog:

ClownyI’m guessing that most people have experienced a devastating incident or many during the difficult time of growing up.  Dragging childhood pain through the decades shapes our adulthood. The memory of one in my life remains fresh and clear sixty-two years later.

I was about fourteen, shy, scrawny, and very concerned about what others thought of me. Girls were just starting to wear lipstick, and I coveted jumping into the adult world with such a daring step.

At that time, there was a company called Ponds which featured as its main product a cold cream, the equivalent of today’s facial moisturizer; the company is still in business. Ponds was testing a possible expansion into the makeup field, and was giving out free samples of lipstick in tiny tubes. My mother acquired a few, and gave me one to inaugurate my foray into being a real woman.

I practiced applying my Ponds lipstick sampler until I got it just right. D-Day arrived for my first appearance at school as the new and sophisticated me.  I’ve never forgotten that day so many decades ago because of one word.

I walked into my first period class which was girls’ gym. The locker room was filled with my female classmates changing into their gym clothes. They all turned as I entered.  One girl (I still remember her name) took a look at my bright, red lips contrasted with my remaining washed out complexion, and pronounced, “You look like a clown. We should call you Clowny.” Everyone laughed and immediately took up the chant: “Clowny, Clowny, Clowny.”

My goal in life was to not call attention to myself, but I had managed to achieve the polar opposite only because I wanted to act grown-up like the rest of the girls. I was humiliated! Trying not to cry in front of my harassers, I ran to the bathroom, grabbed some toilet paper, and wiped off that stupid Ponds lipstick, not to be attempted again for at least two years.

That didn’t stop the fun the others were having. Clowny remarks followed me for the next few weeks not only in the gym, but in other classes I shared with some of them.

Memories such as these mold our grown-up selves. Some use such experiences to become compassionate adults, remembering the cruel rites of passage they encountered themselves.  Others do the opposite by seeking victims to extract the revenge they were unable to mete out to their original tormentors. If your aim is to assuage your pain, choose the compassionate path as it will yield you a much higher return.

 ***

Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

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The Passive-Aggressive Jab

Final Book CoverThis blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

CHITCHAT:  I will be giving free public lectures on the following dates, times, and locations:

July 19, 2018, 10:30am, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” Covenant Village of the Great Lakes Retirement Community, 2510 Lake Michigan Dr NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504 (616) 259-0408, www.covenantgreatlakes.org/events(RSVP REQUIRED)

September 9, 2018, 3:15pm, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement,” THRIVE Expo –  sponsored by The Gazette newspaper, Hotel at Kirkwood Center, 7725 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404 (No RSVP Required)

October 16, 2018, 1:00pm, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” The Holmstad Retirement Community, 700 W. Fabyan Pkwy, Batavia, IL 60510, (630) 239-1133, www.theholmstad.org  (RSVP REQUIRED)

October 17, 2018, 10:30am, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” Windsor Park Retirement Community, 124 Windsor Park Dr, Carol Stream, IL 60188, (331) 218-3637, www.windsorparkillinois.org (RSVP REQUIRED)

October 19, 2018, 10:30am, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” Covenant Village of Northbrook, 2625 Techny Rd, Northbrook, IL 60062, (224) 412-8421, www.covenantnorthbrook.org (RSVP REQUIRED)

Now, on to my blog:

BoxingWhat I’ve termed the “passive-aggressive jab” is definitely a one-two punch thrown when you aren’t looking. It’s that oh-so-subtle put down that you can’t quite define, can’t quite grasp. The PAJ is usually delivered when you’re off-guard, and all of a sudden you sense that everything feels weird.

The jab thrower might be a friend, relative, boss, teacher, co-worker, acquaintance, stranger, or any other relationship description.  He/she might have a pleasant smile on his face during the punch, so you doubt that it was really meant the way it made you feel.  You wonder if you are wrong in your assessment, and you doubt your own sanity.

Am I crazy, or did he just say that?

The puncher’s comment is usually structured so it can be interpreted in different ways.  You wonder what kind of a person are you to attribute it in such a negative manner.  Maybe he meant it in the best possible light, and you’re the creep.

Over time, you begin to notice more such behavior on the part of the jabber. After a while, you begin to suspect that you were right all along. However, any confrontation will yield something like “What are you talking about? That’s not what I meant.”

You have been turned into the bad guy.  He and anyone else he can enlist into his camp look at you askance and defend poor him.

Why do people behave that way?  It doesn’t matter.  If such behavior stokes his ego in some fashion, that is not your problem to figure out or fix.  What is your problem is how to combat such conduct when it’s aimed at you?  It’s hard, but it can be done.

First, you have to realize that you’ve been the victim of the passive-aggressive jab.  Next, you have to swerve to avoid it, just like the boxer does to deflect the hit.  In this  case, it’s an emotional swerve.  Here are some countermeasures you might employ:

1. Refuse to engage!

2. Don’t respond, even when you suspect that a grenade has just landed at your feet.

3. Resist retaliating in kind; that only becomes a pissing match of put-downs.

4. Stare him down.

5. Wait for an opportune moment where you can whisper privately to him, “I’m not playing that game.”

6. Take your leave, either physically or emotionally.

7. Socialize with others present and avoid your attacker.

8. Maintain self-control.

Remember not to try to reason with him. That’s what he wants so he can make himself look like an innocent.  Instead, try some of the above suggested techniques.  If one doesn’t cut it, try another.  Create some of your own.  Make them work for you.

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